A man charged with dangerous driving causing the deaths of three college students when the vehicle he was driving crashed in Moncton last year will be tried by a jury.
Saumil Prashantkumar Shah faces six charges, three of dangerous driving causing death and three of causing death by criminal negligence.
Defence lawyer Alex Pate told provincial court Judge Luc J. Labonté that Shah elects to be tried by judge and jury. Shah wasn't present in the Moncton courtroom Friday.
Crown prosecutor Maurice Blanchard told the judge he expects to need at least a week for a preliminary inquiry. Preliminary hearings are used to test whether the Crown has enough evidence to proceed to trial.
Preliminary inquiry dates set
Labonté set the inquiry for April 21-27 next year. The Crown and defence lawyers will be back in court Jan. 21 after discussing whether the full week will be necessary for the inquiry.
The charges stem from a crash on the Trans-Canada Highway in Moncton near the Shediac Road exit around 5:45 p.m. on Sept. 1, 2019.
A Subaru Outback heading east on the divided highway rolled and landed in the median, RCMP said last year.
The five people in the vehicle were all citizens of India, Amit Tamrakar, president of the Indo-Canadian Society of Saint John, told CBC after the crash.
Four were students at the New Brunswick Community College campus in Saint John, while Shah, the driver, was described last year as working at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John on a permanent resident permit.
RCMP said two men, ages 24 years old, and a third, 29, were all ejected from rear seats during the crash. Two died at the scene, while a third died in hospital. A passenger in the front seat survived.
RCMP in a news release said the preliminary investigation indicated speed may have been a factor in the crash.
Tamrakar said last year that the five had just visited Magnetic Hill and were on their way to Parlee Beach when the crash happened.